Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Colours of the cut

Being back on the Thames after the rigours of the K&A is a complete delight: Vicky's happy, I'm happy and so is Tug Harry. Even Brian seems slightly more relaxed now that there isn't a lock or swing bridge every few minutes to bring on a bout of frenzied yapping.
It might be the third time we've travelled this stretch of Thames this year but we're far from bored of it: in fact this is the best trip of all. The river is virtually deserted - only once have we had to share a lock with another boat – the moorings are empty and, above it all, the autumn colours of the trees are stunning in the sunshine.

And there has been a decent amount of that: we set off from Reading on Monday, in cold, bright weather and pulled up for the night at Henley on the town moorings.
Oddly, we've never stopped here before and I'm not sure we will particularly bother to do so again - it's a small town which is suffering from a serious dose of affluenza. The streets are filled with slightly kitsch art galleries, expensive restaurants and bars, patisseries rather than Greggs outlets, the sort of ladies clothes shops you only find in towns like this and, of course, a Waitrose. There was a decent crop of charity shops, however so not all was lost!
Overnight mooring in Henley costs nine quid - and there's no escape, you have to buy a ticket in the carpark machine or someone comes round and knocks on your door. You do get mooring rings and decent rubbish bins, which is something. And if you think it's expensive, try Marlow just downriver which charges £11. Makes Windsor at £8 seem a snip.
It all seems a bit cheeky to a cheapskate canal-er like me. Boaters bring business; all these riverside towns are chokker with moored craft in the summer. How about doing the decent thing and offering a rebate if you spend more than a certain amount at local businesses?
Yesterday we decided to do a long stint as the forecast was good and for today was rubbish. As always seems to be the way it ended up being just that bit longer than it should have been. I was going to stop in Maidenhead but the river's a long way from the town centre and the evening was sunny so we pressed on for Windsor where the shops are nearer.
We got there in the gathering gloom and finished mooring up in pitch dark. Amazing how quickly a sunny evening becomes a dark cold night! But it was worth it. This morning it p***ed down again. During a lull in the rain we headed for the shops only to get seriously soaked when it started again.
Windsor Castle in the sunshine - an impressive sight
After lunch the day brightened and by mid afternoon the sun was shining again so we put a couple more hours in and moored – in daylight this time – at Egham where we've had an entertaining evening watching the aircraft climb out of Heathrow at all sorts of different angles and directions.
Tomorrow sun is forecast again for the final 15 miles to Teddington.




1 comment: